late yesterday afternoon i took a break from my canvas to walk down to my favorite little coffee shop for a little one on one with my new book. it was quiet in there until the influx of after school kids came charging in with their backpacks and unlaced shoes. i watched the two tables across from me - oh how i remember those days. table-1, mom was getting her two little ones settled, reaching in her purse, pulling out snacks so she could beat the crowd at the latte counter. table-2 sat a mom and dad with their adorable little girl who munched on her muffin with the gusto only a child who just got out of school could. the other tables were scattered with college students engrossed in their computers and smartphones.
i watched both families intently. as different as they seemed on the surface, both shared striking similarities. each family spoke very little to each other except for a quick stolen moment to look up from their phones and ipads to check out who walked threw the front door. how sad. don't get me wrong, i adore my iphone and internet gadgets. but nothing can replace real conversation. and nothing and i mean nothing can replace a good book. kids today are taught not by well skilled teachers but rather by lazy ones, who rely on the computer to teach them. i read a report recently that stated kids are missing the basic writing skills because of this lack of hands on teaching. and math.. what happened to pencil and paper? oh, i forgot .. computers do that now. it's easier this way they say. .. have you ever tried to solve an algebra problem on the computer? without the help of Google of course. and see, there's the rub. looking up the answers for any given subject is so much easier on the computer. do kids even know what an Encyclopedia is anymore?
computers are no doubt the way of the future. and trust me, they have their place in education though i worry about our new way of teaching ...but i think when i have to really analyze the subject, it's the social skills that i fear our younger generation is lacking. and it seems to be so much easier to turn on a video game than to go to the park or take a bike ride with our kids.
.. think about it. do you have children? what's the ratio between the two? how many times in the past month have you gone outside with your child to play/interact vs walking past them as they play video games in the afternoon?
i left my little table with a heavy heart looking back at both families who hadn't spoken a word to each other since they sat down. i suppose i shouldn't feel bad for them, after all, they have their electrical gadgets to converse with.